Popcorn ceilings used to be the standard ceiling finish that builders would use in Columbia and Lexington. The advantage for the builder was profit. If the drywall contractor could skip the final coat of mud and sanding and the painting contractor could skip priming, sanding, and painting the ceiling then the builder could save that much money on the residential or commercial project.


Now, nobody wants popcorn. The builders have caught on to this and they are using smooth ceilings in most of the new homes today. One of the first things that remodelers and house flippers do is plan to remove the popcorn and make all the ceilings smooth to appeal to a new buyer. Nothing says 1970’s like a popcorn ceiling.

The Process

The process is extensive and extremely dusty. Ideally, the room would be emptied, if the walls were not being painted we would mask them with polyethylene and cover the floors. There is no one way to do this, if the ceiling has been painted on top of the popcorn it is like removing concrete. If not painted over, it can come down pretty quick. Carolina Painting & Pressure Cleaning has become very efficient at removing the popcorn, but that’s just the easy part.

As I mentioned before, the popcorn hides quite a bit. Once the popcorn is gone, it is normal that we have to put the final skim coat over all the screws or nails, and over the seams and butt joints of the sheet rock that the drywall. Then the whole ceiling is sanded from wall to wall. After we sand, there needs to be a primer coat put on the ceiling. If the ceiling is really old we usually opt for an oil-based primer to block any stains from coming through from the actual drywall itself. If the ceiling is 10 years old or newer we can prime with a water-based primer.

After priming, we have to re-sand the entire ceiling again and touch-up any nicks or imperfections that we find before putting the finish coat of paint on. At this point we begin cleanup. This includes removing all the plastic and drop clothes and vacuuming.

Is the Dust Over?

Unfortunately, no. More than likely you will have a couple weeks of dusting ahead. You will have to vacuum and dust and 30 minutes after and you may see more dust on the furniture. We do incorporate HEPA vacuums and exhaust fans to lower the amount of dust to a minimum for you.

How Much Does It Cost?

Like most things in the painting business, you can bet on two things: every job is different you get what you pay for.

On an average job for Carolina Painting, popcorn removal ranges anywhere from $3-$4 per square foot including labor and materials. To save a little, we normally do not do closets. If we bundle the removal with painting walls and/or trim then it will average at a lower cost. If it is full of furniture, or has been previously painted you might get a higher quote. The best thing to do is take the average and see if that is something that could possibly fit in your budget. If it does or if it’s close, then you should call to get a firm price for the work to be done. We also have financing available that makes your project affordable on any budget.

Contact your Top Rated Local ® Carolina Painting and Pressure cleaning for your next interior residential or commercial painting project! We’re happy to assist with popcorn ceiling and choosing paint. We enjoy lending our expertise to your next painting venture!

Learn more about our services and schedule your consultation!